Advice to Sellers

Advice to Sellers


Serious legal problems can arise when a house or an apartment is bought by a couple who are not married and only one of them signs for it. Anton du Plessis of Vineyard Estates says; "The couple being partners carries no weight in law - unless the arrangement is signed and sealed under what is known as a cohabitation agreement or, alternatively, if the deed of sale stipulates that they are joint owners adn specifies the extent of each one's shares. " Some people believe that if one or other party can establish that the couple were in what is referred to as a common law marriage, any assets will be divided equally amoung them if they split - but this is not so as a deed of sale will result in the property going only to the buyer or buyers who are listed. Common law or verbal agreements carry ...
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Any idea that the Cape Town City Council might back down on its new ruling that a certificate has to be obtained from an accredited plumber before a home can be transferred to a new owner can now be dropped:  the ruling has become law and will be enforced, says Anton du Plessis, CEO of Vineyard Estates. This additional piece of legislation, he says, can and will delay house sales if homes are found to be losing water through their plumbing network.  To prevent this, du Plessis recommends that anyone going into the sales process does a few water checks himself well before the sale takes place. “The first step is to turn off all the taps in the house and any appliances that use water, including garden irrigation systems.  Then ensure that lavatories are not used for an hour or so and check the water meter at the start ...
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Anton du Plessis, CEO of Vineyard Estates, the Cape Peninsula estate agency serving Bishopscourt, Upper Kenilworth, Upper Claremont, Newlands, Rondebosch and Constantia, has drawn attention to an Appeal Court ruling (in the case Solvista Investments vs Sasol Fibres) which, says du Plessis, clarifies the message that the liability to pay all rates and taxes and “other outgoings” passes to the purchaser on the date of transfer but does not entitle him to claim for expenses paid out prior to transfer. In this case the purchaser claimed a large sum for the costs of security, cleaning, maintenance and protection apparently spent in the period between the signing of the deed of sale and transfer. “It often happens,” said du Plessis, “that a purchaser will be given permission to occupy the premises prior to transfer, and in most cases will be charged an occupational rental for this.  However, any money (“other outgoings”) that ...
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The volatility of the Cape Peninsula property market and the lack of sufficient sales to draw up truly representative figures for the upper bracket market, says Anton du Plessis of Vineyard Estates, makes it very difficult to give definite, realistic valuations on the more expensive homes when these come up for sale. “The situation,” said du Plessis, “is complicated by the fact that right now many buyers, especially cash buyers, will automatically discount every price no matter how reasonable it is.” Giving as an example of how difficult it can be to compile conclusive data, du Plessis said that in the last six months only seven transfers of upper bracket (R6 million to R10 million) townhouses took place and of these only three were truly representative of the area. Of the four that were not representative, one was sold to the government, one (by himself for R8,7 million) had so ...
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Sellers and buyers dealing in residential property have to realise that delays in transfer do occur and no estate agency or conveyancer can guarantee a transfer date.  This was said by Anton du Plessis, head of Vineyard Estates, commenting on a recent case in which the Deeds Office held up a transfer by almost one month. “It is,” said du Plessis, “quite understandable that clients should assume that if the agent and the conveyancer work efficiently and win the cooperation of buyer and seller, transfers should not take longer than eight weeks.  Regrettably this is not always the case.” Recently, said du Plessis, a minor mistake in the Title Deed (it was, in fact, a duplication of a minor clause) resulted in a call for a correction.  Normally, he said, this would have taken no more than four or five days.  However, in this case the clerk responsible for the ...
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At the Cape, says Anton du Plessis, Chief Executive of Vineyard Estates, winter almost invariably ushers in a period of slow residential property selling - and already this year the pattern is beginning to repeat itself. This, he says, follows on from a four month period in which upper middle and upper bracket property attracted fewer buyers than would normally be expected. “Those of us who specialise in the higher end properties,” he says, “are seeing unsold stock build up.  Homes valued at above R4 million are now moving slowly and those over R10 million even slower.” In the areas in which he is most active (Newlands Upper through to Bishopscourt and Kenilworth Upper/Wynberg), says du Plessis, there have only been 21 transfers of residential homes this year – at a median price of R6 million per sale and averaging out at R6 100 per square metre of land.  This average ...
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FNB’s decision to stop issuing any bonds at sub-prime rates will probably be followed by the other banks – but this is not a death blow to the residential property market, says Anton du Plessis, CEO of the Cape Peninsula estate agency, Vineyard Estates. “Right now,” he said, “the rates are low enough to promote a lively housing market.  The problem is not the interest rate levels but the high number of mortgage bond applications that are still rejected, especially at the lower end of the market.” In upper middle and upper bracket housing (on which his company focuses), said du Plessis, the average bond is around R3 million.  At a sub-prime rate of 1% below prime, (i.e. 8%) this would mean that the borrower would pay approximately R25 000 per month.  If, as seems likely, he could only get prime, he would be paying R27 000, approximately R2 000 more ...
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Anton du Plessis, CEO of Vineyard Estates, has drawn attention to a recent High Court case (involving an auctioneer and Netluk Boerdery cc and Another) in which the plaintiff’s plea that he had not fully understood the contract was taken as grounds for allowing him to opt out of it. “The Smith Tabata Buchanan Boyes property law update on this subject,” said du Plessis, “is particularly enlightening:  they state that the rule applicable here is that if a man is induced to enter a contract by a false misrepresentation, he cannot be held to it on the grounds that if he had exercised due diligence he would have picked up the fact that certain statements were not true.” This is very much in line with the new Consumer Protection Act and estate agents, being part of the “supply chain” could also be held accountable for misunderstandings, especially if they are, ...
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Conditions in the Cape residential property market have, says Anton du Plessis, CEO of Vineyard Estates, caused him to revise his attitude to sole mandates. “In the old days,” he said, “I would often recommend dual mandates, especially when they involved a big name company and a smaller local agency. In dual mandates, said du Plessis, the big name brand will work extra hard to ensure that their supposedly superior abilities are not shown up by the small player.  The smaller agency, however, tends to take on fewer properties, and therefore each success and failure is more critical to them.  The smaller player tends to devote more time and attention to each of their properties.  For the agent in the larger company, it may not really be that important whether he sells house A or house B, whereas in the smaller company often has only has house A and one ...
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Habitatio rights not confirmed by the relevant clauses in the document. Whenever a property is bequeathed or sold to a buyer on the understanding that he or she will allow a third party to occupy the premises in perpetuity (i.e. until that person moves on or dies) – a situation of conflict is possible at some future date, says Anton du Plessis, CEO of Vineyard Estates. “A recent High Court case,” he said, “has shown just how tricky and difficult this can be, especially when the third party lives there free of charge and shares premises with the buyer.” In the case referred to (JJ Jordan v ED Lowery), said du Plessis, the applicant, who had bought the property some years previously, alleged that the conduct of the respondent, who had been give a right to live free in the home with the applicant (but was expected to pay half ...
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